NBN’s HFC Network Is Costing Taxpayers A Whole Lot More Than Anyone Ever Imagined [Updated]

NBN’s HFC Network Is Costing Taxpayers A Whole Lot More Than Anyone Ever Imagined [Updated]
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Late last year NBN announced an immediate halt to any new Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial connections while it worked on “improving the service for existing customers”, a move which was tipped to cost taxpayers between $420 to $790 million, according to NBN’s own figures.

Today, NBN’s half yearly result showed an increase of $450 million in costs to the HFC network – an increase that Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says isn’t even including the costs of the “halt”.

Update: NBN reached out to Gizmodo refuting Rowland’s claims. “HFC CPP have increased to $2,403, reflecting the inclusion of pre-ready-to-connect network optimisation and accelerated node works to be performed to facilitate a better experience for end users connected to the nbn network,” NBN’s CFO Stephen Rue stated.

“It will further improve the quality of the network usage and connection experience of future end users. These costs were already anticipated in our long-range plan, but due to the revised nature and timing of spend, it is now appropriate to include in CPP metrics.”

NBN’s half yearly results revealed the cost of HFC cost has increased from $2,258 to $2,403 per premises.

3.1 million premises are slated to be connected HFC.

Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says it “remains unclear” if consumers and taxpayers are actually getting the complete story.

“This is not a multi-technology mix — it’s a multi-technology mess.”

NBN confirmed today the HFC pause “will be in effect until fieldwork is complete,” but gave no indication of the actual timeframe.

As reported last year, an analysis of the 2016 NBN Corporate Plan – approved by the NBN board and signed off by Shareholder Ministers – showed the cost of this action could cost taxpayers between $420 to $790 million.

A seven month delay in HFC activations profile would have a $1 billion impact on rollout funding, according to these figures.

“On 24 May 2017, the Senate had NBN confirm the $1 billion figure was based on a seven month delay, for three million services, with an average revenue of $47 per month,” the pair said in a join statement released today.

“It has now been revealed that problems with Turnbull’s second-rate NBN could further delay the HFC rollout by 6 to 9 months for up to 2.5 million premises.”

So based on the figures signed off by the NBN Board – these delays could impact funding by between $420 and $790 million.

And now the latest half yearly report shows an additional increase in cost per premises for those set to get HFC, whenever that happens.

“We have a strong program of activity in place, and we made some significant decisions last year to prioritise the experience of end users on the network,” CEO Bill Morrow stated.

“In partnership with retail providers, we are confident that we will get this right.”